‘Ticking time bomb’: 19-year-old arrested after being found outside woman’s house, allegedly planned kidnapping

DeFOREST, Wis. — Police in DeForest say they have arrested a 19-year-old after he was found wearing all black and carrying handcuffs and ammunition while sitting in a car outside a female acquaintance’s home.

Village of DeForest police held a press conference Friday afternoon to announce the arrest of Gabriel Savage on tentative charges of attempted kidnapping and stalking.

Savage was formally charged with one count of attempted kidnapping and one count of stalking in Dane County Court Friday and is now being held on a $10,000 cash bond, after Dane Co. district attorney Ismael Ozanne had asked for a higher amount given the severity of the case.

According to a probable cause statement filed in Dane County court, on the night of March 20, officers were called to investigate a report of a suspicious car parked the wrong way on a street with its lights off, about 30 yards away from a home.

Officers encountered Savage, who was acting lethargic while sitting in the driver’s seat of the car. Police say he was wearing black clothes, a black knit hat and a black surgical mask, with only his eyes exposed. He also reportedly had two sets of handcuffs with him, as well as a Ruger AR556 semi-automatic rifle in the passenger seat. A frisk of Savage uncovered a total of six loaded rifle magazines in his cargo pant pockets, which officers estimate amounted to 180 rounds of rifle ammunition.

Savage told police he was so heavily armed because he was worried about his personal safety, and said he had handcuffs in case he “had to make a citizen’s arrest.”

Savage also told officers he thought the car had possibly run out of gas, which was determined to be a lie. When asked why he was acting lethargic, Savage told police he was prescribed anti-psychotic medications which affected his sexual function, and that he had taken six pills of Lorazepam. Police had Savage taken to the hospital, where he was put into protective custody and taken to Winnebago Mental Health Institute.

When police contacted Savage’s mother, she said he had several diagnosed mental health conditions and she was concerned that he had that much ammunition.

“When he is clear, or you know, not taking too many Lorazepram, I don’t have any concerns at all. But like tonight, there is no reason to have that stuff in his vehicle, there shouldn’t have been,” she is quoted as saying in the criminal complaint.

Graphic writings found in notes

Five days after his initial arrest, Savage’s parents brought a notebook that had been found inside the car to DeForest police. Inside the notebook, Savage had written the name of a woman and an address, which matched the address of the home he was found parked outside of on the night of March 20. His parents also found two more sets of handcuffs and a knife in the car.

Inside the notebook, writing — which Savage’s parents confirmed belonged to him — mentioned taking multiple prescription drugs, including Cialis, before “going to her house.”

News 3 Now is not disclosing the street name or the woman’s name in order to protect her identity.

Police later obtained a search warrant for Savage’s apartment, where more hand-written notes were found, including one that was scratched out but still legible that mentioned drugging a woman and waiting until she was unconscious before “doing what he wants with her,” holding the woman at gunpoint and threatening to kill her, and having sex with the woman. Savage’s mother also reported seeing more large knives and more ammunition when she went inside his apartment while he was at Winnebago Mental Health Institute.

Officers contacted the woman whose house Savage was found outside of, and she confirmed knowing who Savage was, but said she had only had contact with him about two times in the multiple years they knew of each other. The woman did not know how Savage would have known where she lived, and police reported she began crying and breathing rapidly while talking about police.

The woman told police she was afraid Savage may have planned to or would kill her and her family in the future.

Previous threats of mass violence

According to the criminal complaint filed in Dane County Court Friday, Savage was previously evaluated by Dane County Crisis after he had allegedly made statements about committing a mass school shooting. Crisis officials told investigators that Savage has a long history of wanting to get a gun and complete a school shooting, and idolized mass violence. Dane County Crisis told officers that Savage’s psychiatrist referred to him as a “ticking time bomb” in 2018.

Savage was released from Winnebago Mental Health Institute on April 5 and was immediately arrested, according to police’s probable cause statement.

He is currently in the Dane County Jail.

Court records show that a temporary restraining order, citing harassment, was filed on Friday by an unnamed person against Savage. That order was granted, and an injunction hearing regarding it is scheduled for April 15.